How to survive your first term as a History of Art student in York!

Don’t worry, this won’t be boring – the life of a History of Art student at University of York is nothing of the sort!

My then flatmates, now housemates, and I in Freshers’ Week (its not that scary!)

First week: the panic begins

The first week of term is a big bundle of mixed emotions, it’s the happiest and scariest week (with the last week of term a close second). For me, a second year, happiness comes from the reunion of friends you haven’t seen much of over summer, as second and third years move in to new accommodation with friends. For first years, it’s the incredible mix of fear and excitement of university hals. Yet the actual fear comes from the unknown of the course. The History of Art department are amazing at telling you every possible aspect of information you need to know, and all the interesting things the course leads you on to do. As in all courses, the talk of exams, marking and the real-life grown-up stuff comes. If your anything like me this will truly panic you!! But as you’ll find out this is only the first week fear! Just get through Freshers’ Week and enjoy! The only thing about the first term is that, due to being with your family for the whole summer, it is odd not having someone cooking and looking after you. I took that in my stride and spoke to my Mom often and became a bit of a Nigella. But if you do struggle, York is amazing at supporting you with STYCs (Second and Third Year Contacts) to help you settle in through Freshers’ Week. There’s also your college to support you – don’t forget they are there if you need them. (I like to say this as I’m member of Alcuin College Committee)

Weeks 2-4: open your university horizons

So you’ve got through the first week? Well done, you survived – the hardest part is over! Now to weeks 2-4. In these weeks, keep on top of the work but obviously still have fun! There are so many societies to join at York, but if you can’t find a sports club or society you enjoy then you can create your own with the help of YUSU (University of York’s Students Union). The Uni of York has so many opportunities it’s hard to take full advantage of them all in your three short years, so start early and enjoy campus life. You’re spoilt for choice with College events, pub quiz’s at Courtyard and society gatherings. I am a member of the Poetry Society and on the Alcuin College Netball Team and my only wish is that I had the confidence to join them sooner.

Weeks 4-5: the work begins

Weeks 4-5 arrive when ‘work starts’. This is the time you personally decide to be a grown up and get ahead of the game (or, for some, catch up). You can do this! The motivation to work isn’t hard at this point as this is the time you’re doing open subjects in History of Art. Get to know what you like, and keep your mind open! I closed my mind completely to anything Medieval, yet as I opened it I realised it was really interesting. At this time ambitions are high all around, yet you may get persuaded to go on nights out and to dinners as some people have a Reading Week this week.

Weeks 5-8: deadlines, essays, dissertation ideas and everything in the world all happening at once

This is the time that deadlines, essays and, for me, DISSERTATION IDEAS happen. Adult life has started. Nights out slow down, work begins and library seats become harder to come by. You can do it!

Weeks 8-10: Christmas parties, festivities and intellectual enjoyment along with the slight fear of the ever-approaching exams

Behold the lovely weeks 8-10, which means Christmas parties and seasonal meals. The History of Art department are great at this time of year. This year we went on an ‘unofficial’ trip to Castle Howard, near the university. We went with our Country House lecturer and had a great day, due to his vast knowledge and humour. The department also threw a Christmas party at York Art Gallery in the centre of town, with prosecco, canapés and art. What more could you want from an evening? After all this partying you’re well and truly ready for the holidays.

history of art xmas party
History of Art Christmas Party

I hope this has, in some way, shape or form, opened your eyes to the life and term of a History of Art student at York.